Monthly Archives: August 2018

BRRWD Sets 2019 Tax Levies

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their regular meeting and 2019 Annual Budget Hearing (8:00 PM) on Monday, August 27, 2018, at 7:00 PM, in Barnesville. The Board approved the 2019 Administrative levy, which is capped by statute at $250,000, plus an annual administrative fee to be assessed to projects, based on a project’s account expenditures ($100,000) for a total Administrative levy of $350,000. The 2019 Insurance Levy was set at $21,000. The Board also set a General Levy, to be taxed in accordance with the Minnesota Statutes Annotated (M.S.A.) 103D.905, Subd. 3, ad valorem tax for a general fund not to exceed 0.007298% of all taxable market value to pay the costs attributable to the basic water management features of projects initiated by petition of a political subdivision within the Watershed District. In 2019, these funds will be used for a variety of projects/programs, including the Red River Basin Commission ($25,000), River Keepers ($55,000), development and implementation of total daily maximum load analysis for water quality, log jam removal, flood insurance studies, and flood damage reduction/natural resource enhancement projects. In addition to the General Levy, the Board also placed a second Special Levy, associated with M.S.A. 103D.905, Subd. 3, to raise funding for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration ($500,000), according to the BRRWD’s commitment to contribute up to $2 million to the project. Depending on construction bids, future assessments for the Wolverton Creek Restoration project could be less than the maximum. The total 2019 General Levy ($1,439,066) is similar to 2018.

The Board also set the following 2019 project/ditch system levies:

Clay County

Ditch No. 3 – $25,000
Ditch No. 5 – $20,000
Ditch No. 11 – $100,000
Ditch No. 16 – $25,000
Ditch No. 17 – $10,000
Ditch No. 20 – $10,000
Ditch No. 21 – $20,000
Ditch No. 22 – $10,000
Ditch No. 23 – $10,000
Ditch No. 31 – $5,000
Ditch No. 39 – $20,000
Ditch No. 40 – $25,000
Ditch No. 41 – $75,000
Ditch No. 51 – $15,000
Ditch No. 54 – $10,000
Ditch No. 58 – $20,000
Ditch No. 60 – $10,000
Ditch No. 65 – $15,000
Ditch No. 69 – $10,000

Becker County

Ditch No. 5 – $25,000
Ditch No. 9 – $20,000
Ditch No. 10 – $3,000
Ditch No. 15 – $15,000
Ditch No. 19 – $10,000

Wilkin County

Ditch No. 1C – $20,000
Ditch No. 3 – $40,000
Ditch No. 6A – $25,000
Ditch No. 7 – $15,000
Ditch No. 13 – $25,000
Ditch No. 13-Lateral – $50,000
Ditch No. 22 – $75,000
Ditch No. 26 – $15,000
Ditch No. 40 – $15,000
Ditch No. 41 – $70,000
Ditch No. 43 – $40,000
Ditch No. 44 – $30,000
Wilkin/Otter Tail Co. J.D. No. 2 – $20,000

Projects/Ditch Systems

No. 30, Clay-Wilkin J.D. No. 1 – $25,000
No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation – $100,000
No. 50, Cromwell Township Outlet – $10,000
No. 56, Manston Slough – $100,000
No. 64, LaBelle/Boyer – $10,000
No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration – $99,407.35

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,298,621.42. Income since the 8/13/18 meeting was $144,024.72, including a reimbursement from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation ($143,924.72) and an office rental fee from Gori, Julian & Associates, PC ($100). The Board approved the payment of bills totaling $79,077.89.

  • Discussed a landowner concern about beaver dams on the South Branch of the Buffalo River near Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 9. A Houston Engineering, Inc. field technician will use a drone to inspect the channel. The landowner also asked about the status of the South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration-Phase 1. Bruce E. Albright, BRRWD Administrator, reported that the BRRWD has been awarded a Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) grant for Phase 1 in the upper reaches of the South Branch east of T.H. No. 9. Staff is still working with the area landowners on possible easements. The Board approved the signature of the LSOHC grant contract for the Buffalo River Watershed Stream Habitat Program-Phase 1 in the amount $1,195,000.

  • Approved permits to: David Osten to install random tile to drain low spots to an existing wetland in S½S½, Section 28, Norwegian Grove Township, Otter Tail County, and in Section 33, Norwegian Grove Township, install a non-perforated 15″ dia. dual-walled tile pipe between the two low areas, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Pheasants Forever to restore 10 wetland basins in the NW¼ and NW¼NE¼, Section 9, Callaway Township, Becker County, subject to a written agreement with the neighboring landowner to address possible seepage concerns regarding one site close to the property line; Carlisle Township to install a new approach with a 15″ dia. x 30′ long corrugated metal pipe (CMP) on the north side of 270th ST in the northeast corner of the NE¼, Section 9, and to replace the east and west open ditches along 138th ST with single lines of tile for approximately 1,000′ to widen the road to 80′ to convey runoff from the elevator site improve traffic safety in the Village of French in the SE¼, Section 34; Dakota Carrier Network to install underground fiber optic telecommunications cable across and along T.H. No. 10 and under Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 41 in Moorhead (NW¼, Section 10, Moorhead Township), subject to our standard utility disclaimer; David Schroeder to install a side inlet structure along the South Branch of the Buffalo River in the NW¼, Section 9, Elmwood Township, Clay County, to trap sediment and prevent erosion; Clay County Highway Department to remove two existing 36″ dia. reinforced concrete pipe in County State Aid Highway No. 7 in C.D. No. 33 in the NE¼, Section 22, Kurtz Township, and replace them with one line of 54″ dia. CMP; Mark Blaufuss to install a new approach with a 24″ dia. culvert off County Road No. 16 in the NW¼, Section 31, Akron Township, Wilkin County, west of his building site to access his field, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way; Joel Simmer to install 132 acres of pattern tiling in the NE¼, Section 7, Akron Township, Wilkin County, outletting via a lift station in the northwest corner to the township road ditch, then west to a natural waterway flowing south and west, eventually to Wilkin C.D. No. 6A, to which the property is assessed; and an after-the-fact permit to Eugene Kaiser for the 2015 installation of Natural Resources Conservation Service designed water and sediment control basins, subsurface drainage, and an underground tile outlet to the west onto downstream property in the SE¼, Section 3, Callaway Township, Becker County, and a current permit to divert seepage flow from the tile outlet, using an 18″ dia. relief well and 6″ dia. non-perforated plastic tile to a drainage ditch on the downstream property. All permits are subject to the BRRWD’s standard disclaimers and noted conditions.

  • Approved repairs for a washed-out crossing on Project No. 27, Clay C.D. No. 55 in Section 22, Elmwood Township, where water has undermined the culvert bedding material, causing a crossing failure. The repair will require the addition of bedding material and riprap. A ditch system landowner also requested a clean-out of approximately 0.25 miles of the ditch from his yard downstream to the referenced crossing. The opinion of probable cost for these repairs is $8,000-$10,000.

  • Adopted the Viewers’ Report and proposed benefit area for the redetermination of benefits for Clay C.D. No. 16, subject to a 30-day appeal period.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 4 (Final) ($9,934.78) and Change Order No. 3 ($988.00) to States Border Construction for the Wilkin C.D. No. 7 repair. The total contract amount was $179,923.65, including net change orders totaling $17,360.65. This bill will be submitted to the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District for reimbursement from their Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Fund Grant.

  • Approved the purchase of one solar module for $775 to participate in the City of Barnesville’s proposed solar garden project.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, September 10, 2018, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.

 

BRRWD Signs Wolverton Creek Restoration Contract

At their regular meeting held on August 13, 2018, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), signed the construction contract with Sellin Brothers, Inc., Hawley, MN for Phase 1 of Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration. The contractor expects to start excavation work this week on the lower 0.5 miles of the channel north of the Clay/Wilkin County line to establish an adequate outlet for the project construction. Phase 1 is the middle reach of Wolverton Creek from County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 30 in Section 26, Wolverton Township, downstream into Section 4, Wolverton Township (county line). The excavation completion date is 12/31/18 with seeding to be completed by July 20, 2019. Wilkin County Commissioner Lyle Hovland discussed a landowner’s concerns regarding the Phase 1 outlet cleanout and side inlets on his property. BRRWD Administrator Bruce E. Albright assured Hovland that a gradeline will be established at the outlet north of the County line before any other work is started in Wilkin County. He also noted that the BRRWD will work with landowners regarding their field inlet needs, adding that the sideslopes of the channel/soil placement locations are not designed to act as a dike, and the excavated material will be blended in so that adjacent land can still drain naturally to the creek. Hovland also raised questions from area landowners about the possible impact of a newly proposed F-M Diversion dike crossing Wolverton Creek near the county line south of Comstock. Albright explained that the dike will only be about 18″ high where it crosses Wolverton Creek and will only come into play for the 500 to 1,000-year flood event.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, summary of income, and the accounts receivable report. Cash on hand is $2,376,195.45. Administrative disbursements for the month are $34,182.87 and for the year total $228,124.75. Current 2018 accounts receivable are $4,409,684. Our total income for the year is $1,872,908.79. Income since the 7/9/18 financial report was $67,961.53. Receipts came primarily from Otter Tail County ($396.26) for their 2018 first half tax proceeds, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the Otter Tail River Planning 319 Grant ($23,055.48), Wilkin County for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Buffer Initiative Aid ($41,603.50). The balance of the income came from bank account interest ($2,366.69), Pitney Bowes sales tax reimbursement ($9.51), and office rentals ($525). The Board approved the payment of bills totaling $221,598.75. 

  • Noted that the BRRWD will hold their Annual Budget Hearing on Monday, August 27, 2018. 

  • Approved permits to Merle Nelson for pattern tiling in the NE¼, Section 28, Atherton Township, Wilkin County, with a main running west across the NW¼, outletting via gravity flow to the township ditch, then north for about 0.5 miles to Deerhorn Creek, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Scot Manthe to install a culvert/new approach off a township road to a storage unit facility in the NW¼, Section 7, Eglon Township, Clay County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Parke Township to install one line of 15″ dia. x 45′ centerline culvert in 86th AVE S and one line of 15″ dia. x 20′ culvert in the Palya driveway off 86th AVE S in the SE¼, Section 15; Krystal Francis to move the existing approach/18″ dia. culvert on the property line in the SE¼, Section 9, Hawley Township, Clay County, to the north so that it can be widened and shared with both property owners, subject to township approval to work within their road R/W; Magellan Midstream Partners to conduct pipeline maintenance (lowering) in the NE¼SE¼, Section 30, Prairie View Township, Wilkin County, adjacent to Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 43, subject to our standard utility disclaimer; Troy Larson to install pattern tile on about 35 acres on the west side of a waterway in the NW¼, Section 35, Akron Township, Wilkin County, outletting via a 10″ dia. tile line to the east ditch of County Road No. 19/320th AVE where it will travel south 0.5 miles, then enter a natural waterway and tile another 10 acres in Section 35, outletting via a 6″ dia. tile line to the creek on the east, traversing through the property, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and the City of Moorhead to construct a shared-use path and detention pond north of their 15th AVE N mill and overlay project, outletting to Clay C.D. No. 41 via a piped outlet with erosion control measures and an emergency spillway to the ditch system, subject to the pond berm elevation matching the ditch berm elevation. All permits are subject to the BRRWD’s standard disclaimers and noted conditions. The City of Barnesville administratively withdrew their application to construct a dike near the airport off CSAH No. 52. The Board postponed action on permit applications for Terry Czichotzki and Shane Thompson, pending downstream landowner notifications. 

  • Discussed concerns associated with Clay C.D. No. 16 redetermination of benefits proceedings with a Highland Grove Township landowner. C.D. No. 16 outlets south to a natural waterway on the landowner’s property, and he wants the BRRWD to clean the channel across his property to the Buffalo River. Minnesota Drainage Law, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources protected waters restrictions, and potential wetland impacts limit the BRRWD’s ability to address his requests for work in a natural waterway. The redetermination of benefits hearing for C.D. No. 16 was held on 8/15/18 in the Hawley Community Center. 

  • Reviewed cross-section information and a timeline of the elevations regarding an ongoing water problem in Section 14, Hamden Township, Becker County, associated with a 2011 United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed tile installation to lower an area wetland pool by 1′ to alleviate a water problem on the neighboring cropland and restore a wetland on the Hamden National Wildlife Refuge. The report shows that the current water elevations have changed significantly since the USFWS allegedly broke a tile on their easement in about 2005. The information has been forwarded to the landowner and the Detroit Lakes USFWS office. BRRWD President Leitch suggested that given the information, the landowner should be able to address this problem without further BRRWD assistance. 

  • Noted that the Preliminary Hearing for Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 1 Improvement has been scheduled for August 30, 2018, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office in Barnesville. 

  • Noted that the Minnesota Department of Transportation agreed to mow the last 0.5 miles north of Tower Road along Trunk Highway No. 9, adjacent to the Manston Slough Restoration project in Wilkin County, in response to landowner concerns brought to the Board by Wilkin County Manager Catherine L. Affield. 

  • Noted that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to mow the Nichols Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) site east of Barnesville this fall and then conduct a controlled burn on the site next spring. They also plan to address problems with the berm where there had been a muskrat infestation. Cattle are grazing the site for the first time in several years. The WRP is associated with Project No. 54, Whisky Creek Tributaries. 

  • Agreed to send a letter of interest to the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) to ask them to consider a Flood Risk Reduction Section 205 program for the City of Hawley’s Phase 3 Buffalo River Flood Protection work for existing and future dikes to protect residential and business structures and sewer system. Under this program, the COE pays 100% of the study costs up to $100,000. 

  • Approved a proposal to work with BWSR to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to use Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program as means for easement acquisition for future restoration projects, starting with the proposed Whiskey Creek Restoration near Kent. 

  • Adopted the Order for the redetermination of benefits for Becker C.D. No. 9 and a one-time $25,000 outlet fee for Project No. 64, LaBelle/Boyer Lakes Outlet, subject to a 30-day appeal period. 

  • Approved a request from the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for an additional $3,698 contribution to the Wyland Streambank Erosion project in the NE¼, Section 1, Glyndon Township. The NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program cost share for this project was $7,396, but their 2018 funding was not approved. The Clay SWCD contributed the balance of the shortfall. 

  • Discussed the BRRWD’s practice of contracting for staff and engineering services from Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI). BRRWD President Leitch feels there could be significant cost savings with hiring office staff in-house and encouraged the Board to retain an outside accounting firm to provide a comparison of HEI costs to potential in-house staff costs. 

  • Noted that the four current Managers with terms expiring on August 31 have been reappointed by their respective Counties: Jay Leitch-Clay County, Troy Larson-Wilkin County, John Hanson-Becker County, and Peter Fjestad-Otter Tail County. The Managers took their Oaths and signed the documentation, which will be filed with the State of Minnesota, as required by law. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting and annual budget hearing on Monday, August 27, 2018, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.